⭐⭐⭐⭐½ based on 1 review.

tl;dr: A genuinely good plot in a Bond movie? Shame about what they've done to Bond, but otherwise fantastic.


James Bond


Bond: Sean Connery


Spoilers Ahead: My reviews are not spoiler-free. You have been warned.

Ah, so we almost had a trilogy of only slight-awful Bond, but I see the ego has finally caught up with the character. In fact, it feels like Goldfinger is the moment when the parodied version of Bond was born: hyper-obvious product placements; Bond cars; quirky gadgets; tuxedos underneath diving gear (😂); and, of course, deeply problematic (bordering contemptuous) portrayals of women. To be fair, it feels like Pussy Galore was at least an attempt at a strong female character, but then Bond rapes her (😬) and magically bewitches her (or something) and she sees the error of her ways. I guess all it took was a strong, righteous man (and a good shagging), or something.

Honestly, the whole "I guess I appealed to her maternal instinct" double-cross is such lazy storytelling it almost ruins an otherwise excellent final act. Because here's the slightly terrifying thing: Goldfinger's plot is actually good. No, it's great! The villain is interesting, the evil plan is actually pretty solid (and reasonably realistic), and they retain the upper hand against Bond for most of the run time by genuinely being one step ahead. There's no deus ex machina or sudden reveals/twists that don't really hold up with hindsight, nor does the plot rely on happenchance or Bond being a twit. Nope, here we have a Bond who is genuinely competent at spycraft, following up on leads and genuine clues, and a villain/scheme that moves forward regardless of what the good guys do. And this is a Bond film? Would have guessed it! 😏

Which is why that stupid double-cross is so annoying. There are dozens of ways to have a redemption arc for Galore, but honestly the script almost makes it feel like this was a last-minute change. We know that Goldfinger likes clearing up loose ends. Dude literally offs half of the crime families in the US just because they individually know fragments of the plan, and here's Pussy and her pilots knowing the entire thing. Why not just have a moment when Bond or Pussy catch him rigging the planes to explode or something, allowing Pussy to turn on him in order to save her found family. That would make the whole "maternal instinct" nonsense at least coherent, rather than just sexist, so it feels like this may have been the intent and some meddling exec decided it would be sexier to just have Bond screw her straight 🤦‍♂️

But of course, the female characters aren't the only parts which have aged poorly. It's a real shame what they've done to Bond: taken an (at least partially) emotionally nuanced character and reduced him to ego and lust. Not least of all because it's slightly hard to care about a rapist being the hero of the story, but because it just makes everything more interesting. I find it funny how bad the one-liners are as well; half of them are groan-inducing, and the other half literally don't make sense.

That said, overall, this has to be one of the best Bond films ever made. I'd actually kinda love a modern remake that cuts out the awful parts, because it's so close to being a genuinely excellent film, but I doubt we'll ever see that. Still, with a genuinely interesting plot, excellent characters, and spot-on pacing, this will be hard to beat.

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